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Josh Green and Jaden Hardy score career-highs in win over Jazz

Both dropped 29 points in the victory.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

After trading away two starters and Luka Doncic still sidelined with a left heel contusion, no one would have blamed the Dallas Mavericks for phoning in a loss against the Utah Jazz Monday night. Josh Green and Jaden Hardy had other plans.

Dallas’ young duo erupted in Salt Lake City. Each scored a career-high 29 points, helping the Mavericks fight their way back from an early 15-point hole to walk away with a 124-111 win. The two could see more prominent roles moving forward as the team adjusts after its blockbuster trade.

“I think you’re going to look at him having to defend the top offensive wing or guard on the floor,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said of Green with Dorian Finney-Smith no longer on the team. “We’re not going to ask him to do more. We just need him to be himself on the defensive end.

“Then on the offensive end, being able to play make [and] get us into something. I thought he did a great job there late with him and Timmy [Tim Hardaway Jr.]. And then I thought just his composure to be able to play that many minutes and then the bounce-back game that he had. Golden State wasn’t one of his best starting [games]. I think it just shows his maturity and his growth.”

Green came alive in the second half against the Jazz, knocking down six of his 10 made field goals after halftime. Four of those came in the third quarter when he connected on two corner 3-pointers, a mid-range floater from the elbow, and a dunk. He scored 12 points in the quarter, giving him 22 for the game.

He would score seven more points, but the damage was done. To go along with his 29 points, Green also had six rebounds and two assists.

While Green got cooking after the half, it was Hardy who helped the Mavericks weather their early deficit. He connected on five of his seven first-half shots, including three triples. He finished the first half with 13 points as Dallas went to the locker room trailing 62-60.

He was mostly quiet in the third quarter, making a couple of free throws, but he roared back to life in the fourth, scoring 14 points in the frame, as the Mavericks began to build a commanding lead halfway through the quarter. Hardy scored 11 straight points to help close the game.

“It was super fun,” Hardy said. “Going into the game, believing that we could get the win. And then coming out, playing hard, playing together, and sharing the ball [and] moving the ball.”

Hardy has played sporadic minutes this season but has shown a knack for scoring the ball when he sees significant playing time. Aside from his career-high 29 points, he also had four rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

“He’s working,” Kidd said. “We’re going to have to get him some minutes here. The way he’s playing, the maturity he has on the floor, understanding how to get to the basket. He gives us something we don’t have in that speed. He’s fearless of getting to the rim. And then also, he’s showing that he can play make too.”

Green and Hardy showing their offensive chops against the Jazz can certainly play dividends if they can find some consistency. They could help the Mavericks adjust to the addition of Kyrie Irving, lift some of the scoring burdens off of Doncic, and contribute to a faster style of play that opponents will have to game plan around.

Whether that happens or not will play out in the coming weeks. For now, they can take solace in their combined efforts helping the shorthanded Mavericks get a much-needed win on the road.